China mulls building dam on poisoned river


Fri, Dec 09, 2005 - Page 4

China is considering building a dam to reduce the impact of a river-borne toxic spill that is due to arrive in a Russian city early next week, a government newspaper said yesterday.

The spill dumped 90 tonnes of benzene and other chemicals into the Songhua River in China's northeast, disrupting water supplies to millions of people in China and straining relations with Moscow.

The Songhua flows into the Heilong River, which merges with the Wusuli River in the Russian border city of Khabarovsk to become the Amur.

The temporary dam would be built on a waterway linking the Heilong with the Wusuli, which supplies water for homes and businesses in Khabarovsk, the official China Daily newspaper said.

The two rivers merge in Khabarovsk, but part of the city lies upstream on the Wusuli, known in Russian as the Ussuri.

That spot was chosen because the water is only 90cm deep and moves slowly at this time of year, the newspaper said.